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Lewistown Field Office
Release Date: 01/07/10
Contacts: Craig Flentie 406-538-1943    

BLM Improving Reservoir Fish Habitat

Those venturing to public lands deep in the Missouri Breaks of north-central Montana will begin noticing aerator windmills on select BLM reservoirs.  

These aerator windmills resemble smaller replicas of the stately old windmills that, at one time, were more common across the rural landscape. However, these aerator windmills are not designed to bring water to the surface. Their purpose is to pump oxygen into the water, which improves water quality in a variety of ways.
According to Abel Guevara, a BLM wildlife biologist in Lewistown, “we’ve installed windmill aerators on three BLM reservoirs and may have suitable locations for others in the coming years.”
Each aerator windmill operates by capturing the wind’s power, then pumping oxygen through a ½ inch inside diameter pipe that is attached to a porous airstone sitting on the bottom of the reservoir. From the airstone, the oxygen bubbles rise to the surface, creating multiple benefits.
This bubbling action reduces the buildup of grass, weeds, algae and bacteria in the water. It also breaks down the gas byproducts created by decaying plant, fish and animal life on the pond bottom. The bubbling action also keeps a portion of the pond’s surface ice-free during the depth of winter.
At the same time, this bubbling action stabilizes water temperatures and the amount of oxygen in the water, which in turn helps sustain larger and healthier fish populations. 
“We’ve placed aerators on Payola, South Fork of Dry Blood and Whiskers reservoirs and our hope is that they will help prevent winter fish kills, which will benefit area fishermen year round,” Guevara added.  

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Lewistown Field Office   920 NE Main Street      Lewistown, MT 59457  

Last updated: 06-28-2012